In 1665, London, Christopher Rowe is a young apprentice to apothecary, Master Benedict Blackthorn.
Blackthorn saved Christopher from a no doubt, harsh and uncertain future, by adopting him from a local orphanage. Since that time he has acted as a caring father figure and mentor to the young boy.
Christopher is very clever, adept at following chemical recipes, deciphering puzzles and reading complex codes.
Along with his good friend, Tom, the baker’s son, Christopher gets himself into all sorts of wild hijinks with his experiments.
When the city’s apothecaries begin being systematically killed off, it is up to Christopher to figure out who is behind it and stop them before he too, falls victim.
Relying on his knowledge, acquired through his Master’s many lessons, as well as his own ingenuity, Christopher slowly pieces together the mystery of the Cult at the heart of the matter; putting his own life in danger along the way.
I really enjoyed so much about this story. It’s such a strong start to a Middle Grade series.
I loved the historical setting and the relationship between Christopher and Tom most of all. Tom was a perfect, lovable side kick, and those can go a long way in this type of story.
This does get really dark. I was living for it and even as a Middle Grader, certainly, would have been living for it. There are murdery bits, and evil villain bits and actually, fairly scary bits.
If you are a reader who is sensitive to that type of content, just go in knowing you will find that here.
As a science lover, I also enjoyed those elements included in the story. There were even codes for Christopher to work out, left for him as clues.
The narrative really made science exciting and I love seeing Young Readers exposed to a science is cool storyline. Not only is science cool, it saves the day.
I’m really excited to continue on with this series. I am definitely down for going on more adventures with Christopher and Tom.
If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced, slightly dark, Middle Grade Mystery series, I suggest you give it a go as well. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!